Summer 2021 Playlist

Hello!

Welcome to my summer playlist for 2021.

Since I kind of messed up my blogging schedule for this month, I decided that it was more important for this post to go out than the regular monthly playlist. I hope you’re all fine with this arrangement, and don’t worry I’ll include the Spotify link onto next month’s post, okay?

It’s funny, last summer while we were just getting out of our lockdown, the music being released throughout the summer was good, and I remember appreciating the effort to be huge among artists and bands. I mean, it was odd that the majority of the continent was still running through their stay-at-home regiments but were still able to bring out these bangers for everyone to enjoy. And now coming out of this year’s summer, I don’t feel as thrilled and I don’t know why. I think it might have something to do with the full moon and retrograde though so just ignore this whole paragraph!

One thing that I think both made me really happy and surprised the living hell out of me this summer, was how much rock music I was loving this summer! I still had the popular pop tunes , but I was all about rock music and that rarely happens! My TV was mostly glued to Sirius XM’s Octane station, they play a lot of current and 2000’s rock and heavy metal music so I was able to create my own soundtrack than other people. I think it helped that with everybody being allowed to go back on tour again, bands were releasing more and more songs and I literally just absorbed as much as I could in the past seven months because you know I’ve been working on this playlist since the end of April!

Here is my Top 25 songs of the summer! If you want to check out the whole playlist, click here.

Drunk (and I Don’t Want To Go Home) by Elle King featuring Miranda Lambert
Girls by Zella Day
Peaches by Justin Bieber featuring Usher, Ludacris and Snoop Dogg
If You Love Her by Forest Blakk
Forget Me Too by Machine Gun Kelly featuring Halsey
Summer In June by Ava
Muscleville by Kai Wachi
Wait A Minute My Girl by Volbeat
The Devil by BANKS
Only Love Can Save Me Now by The Pretty Reckless
Kiss My (Uh Oh) by Anne-Marie featuring Little Mix
She’s Fire by Diane Warren featuring G-Eazy and Santana
Lil Bit by Nelly featuring Florida Georgia Line
Choke by The Warning

Justified by Kacey Musgraves
Wherever I May Roam by J Balvin and Metallica
Hip To Be Scared by Ice Nine Kills featuring Jacoby Shaddix
MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) by Lil Nas X
Dark Side by Blind Channel
Deal With It by Ashnikko featuring Kelis
When Demons Come To Life by Halocene featuring Lauren Babic
Arcade by Duncan Laurence
Up by Cardi B
Cover Me In Sunshine by P!nk and Willow Sage Hart

If you have created your summer anthem playlist, I would love to know what kind of music was fueling you in the last few months. Have you discovered new artists and bands? What are you keeping for later releases? Please put it all in the comments for me. Thank you.

Book Review: “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” by J.K. Rowling

Hello!

Well, this one took me forever to get through–mainly because for a while I was just casually reading this because of its sheer size! I seriously did not think I would be able to finish it this year, but I’m here now and we have much to discuss!

WARNING: If you have not read the books yet and want to sometime in the future, there are spoilers mentioned below so I figured I’d give you a heads up beforehand!


6

Harry Potter is midway through his training as a wizard and his coming of age.

Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang, his crush (and maybe do more than dream). He wants to find out about the mysterious event that’s supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn’t happened for hundreds of years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he’s not normal – even by wizarding standards.

And in his case, different can be deadly.

taken from Goodreads.

After reading the previous books, I knew going into this that I would be introduced to other things that were clearly missing from the film, but I still haven’t been able to wrap my head around everything! Honestly, there was one thing that annoyed me and it was like it just dragged on with certain sections. Other than that, I didn’t have much to complain about and considering it is 734 pages long, I feel like it was a success!

I always adore when Harry and Hermione go to The Burrow at the end of the summer holidays to spend time with Ron’s family. They may not have much, but you can always feel the love in that house, and with this book we get to meet Bill and Charlie! So, it was incredibly crowded and I can imagine Mrs. Weasley’s mind going to explode with all of those people under one “small” roof–especially with the crazy antics of Fred and George! I think James and Lily Potter would be pleased with how much love that Molly and Arthur care for their son and obvious well-being! I do have to mention that seeing Mrs. Weasley and Bill before the third task was so sweet! I totally cried during this scene because for one, you’re not expecting it to happen and if Harry ever thought he didn’t have supporters outside of Hogwarts in the games, he definitely knew at that moment.

We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.

Another element that isn’t mentioned in the films very much is we get to know more about house elves. What are house elves you ask? Well, they are these strange looking characters that work for the elite families in the Wizardry world. In the second book, “The Chamber of Secrets” we meet Dobby, who has the awful job for caring for the Malfoys. Dobby explained to Harry that elves are not allowed to leave unless they are given a piece of clothing, if their master gives them clothes, they are freed. Well, Harry freed Dobby by masking one of his socks as being from Mr. Malfoy. We get to see Dobby again in this book, and we get to know who exactly creates the daily feasts in the Great Hall. Unfortunately, we get to meet a very caring but heartbroken elf named Winky once we head into the Quidditch World Cup, which by the way, I FINALLY get to know who wins that damn game! I’ve hold it off knowing the truth in case I ever decided to read the series and it was awesome!

Now I will say, I wasn’t a blabbering mess after Cedric’s death like I thought I would; the only thing I could understand it was because I knew it happens and yes, as heartbreaking it is for everyone in the book and the Potter fans, I cried more when Mrs. Weasley surprises Harry than anything else. I do know, there would have been no way in hell I’d be able to replay everything in my mind minutes after witnessing Lord Voldemort coming back and everything that is mentioned in that chapter to retell it all to Dumbledore and Sirius. I mean, that is a lot for a person but given Harry is what? Thirteen in this book? Nobody needs to see that but unfortunately it happens and we have to heal and move on. The only thing that got me through this book was a little voice telling me, “we get to meet Luna Lovegood in the next one!”

I am very proud of myself for being able to finish reading this book. So far, this one is the one trying to come out of its spine! There is a good chunk that is now loose but it tucked back together with its dust jacket in the bookshelf. The next seems to be in better shape but we’ll see towards the middle on how much my cousin loved it! I’m not mad at him on the condition, these are first edition hardbacks, so I’m not terribly upset about their rips and tears, as they remind me that somebody before me definitely enjoyed them multiple times and I am perfectly fine with it!

Have you read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling yet? If you have, what were your favorite parts of the story? For those who watched the film before reading the series, how did you handle the death of Cedric Diggory?

May Playlist

Hello!

I was really wondering whether or not I would have this post ready for you. Despite knowing how easy it is getting these monthly playlists together, I still didn’t want to half-ass it. For most of the month, I’ve felt foggy about life and the only thing I’ve really enjoyed lately is music.

Now that we’re heading into the summer months and all of these different festivals and tours are setting out dates throughout the country, everything feels different. It is strange how quiet it was at this time in 2020. I am surrounded by happiness on the radio. Our favorite artists and bands didn’t just hang around in quarantine, they worked their asses off making new music for us to enjoy in this moment of freedom. I am very excited to see what goes on this summer!

I hope we start to see even more things as we go into June and eventually July. I know I’m not alone in hoping to see these changes become part of our “normal” again. However, there was a tweet I saw earlier this week, someone had mentioned that since everybody were announcing these concerts again, the measures to make sure they are accessible to everyone–meaning to people who have disabilities like me!–will be far and in between and honestly, that really sucks! I think that’ll definitely be something we will miss the most because these live-streams were our lives during the many lockdowns/quarantines. I do want to say, I only watched one free live-stream show and that was G-Eazy back in late August I think, and I really didn’t care for it. I like the audience just as much as the musicians. I feed off of their enjoyment and expressions too! So, I am hoping that maybe these festivals will live-stream different sets for people who could not go to it because of their disability!

Anyways, let’s get into the actual playlist; here were my Top 20 songs for May! If you want to check out the full list, click here to be transported to the whole Spotify playlist.

Arcade by Duncan Laurence
You and I by Leon
Lonely No More by Rob Thomas
Never Leave This Bed by Maroon 5
The Reason by Zayde Wolf
Blooming by Violet Orlandi
If I Should Die by Niia featuring Girl Ultra
Big Bad Wolf by In This Moment
Hex Girl by Dreadlight featuring Maiah Wynne
BOMBSHELLEXE by YukoEXE
Gravedigger by MXMS
Let Me Go by 3 Doors Down
I’m Not Sorry by Celeste Buckingham
Warrior by League of Legends x 2WEi featuring Edda Hayes
Wild Blood by Sam Tinnesz featuring Pep Squard
If You Love Her by Forest Blakk
Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home) by Elle King featuring Miranda Lambert
Everything I Wanted by First To Eleven
Rise Up by J2 featuring Keeley Bumford
Anarchy by Lillith Czar

I don’t know how you listen to music on a daily basis, but I’ve noticed lately that I will start with Spotify and after two or three songs in, I will go on YouTube and found a video on The Dodo channel and all of a sudden find ‘my mix’ and start playing whatever I’ve been watching on there nonstop and completely forget about what I was listening on Spotify! For the past week and a half, I’ve had to done it seven times! It doesn’t matter the time of day (or night for that matter!( but it will slip my mind and then of course, I wonder why in my Discover Weekly isn’t fitting right with the aesthetic I’ve listened to that coming Monday.

What were you listening to this May?

Life | A Bit Of Greenery

Hello everyone!

For today’s post, I will be taking you on a little journey on how and why we are increasing our greenery around the house. It is a very interesting tale honestly, because it involves one person in my family that definitely doesn’t look the average person who loves to garden. I will also share why I am starting to embrace this hobby a bit too.

We are going to start on the “bigger” plants first, because they hold the bulk of the story.

This one is called Fritz or Fritz-y, as my mom has grown to name it. The funny thing is that, I thought she named it that for one of her favorite shows, The Closer. Brenda Leigh’s husband is affectionally known as Fritz-y, but last year I was told that it is actually named by my dad as an alternative to his great-uncle. I want to say about five to six years ago, my parents went to my dad’s Uncle Freddie’s funeral, and somehow came back home with this plant that was at a medium size overall that has continued to grow these beautiful green vines that my poor dad has had to build a stick structure within the pot so the strands don’t hang down and outside the pot so not be damaged by a pair of snow boots or muddy tires of a wheelchair.

Speaking of names, we have another bigger plant in our living room called, Sally. My mom was given this lily plant as a gift after the family of a resident wanted to reward the nurses for taking such a great care to their mother, and in usual circumstances, they don’t accept gifts at all, but my mom kind of fell in love with it that she knew that it belonged in our new house. Sally is little over three years old now and my nephew has grown to love her because besides the foliage that surrounds the entire thing, we do get one or two lilies that grow really tall and erect so Nolan likes to point at it and say that it’s “pretty” so maybe he’ll have a sort of green thumb too!

We also have a collection of other plants prospering in our kitchen, around our patio doors that lead to nothing but a well-loved cat house! Anyways, originally it was just four separate plants, but my mom recently came home with a tree that was named Groot by my dad! It stands next to Fritz as there is no more room on the right side. It is just a straight line of plants opposite the morning sun. For the most part, all belong to my parents, except for one: Chuckie.

We think this one is called a spider plant, because it is quite bigger and messy like Chuckie’s hair on Rugrats! This was stored in my room when we first moved into the house three years ago, but my dad thought it wasn’t getting enough sunlight and ended up putting it in the kitchen. Honestly, at the time I loved and thought it was really cute but when you can’t take care of your plants on your own, you kind of give up easily. I had the same issue with taking care of fish too!

Money Tree // Pachira aquatica

135183309_838610930261308_5977737257000249824_n

So, this is my first baby. It’s name is Yuri Mariko. One thing you will find out as you read these next sections, is that I obviously had too much fun figuring out the perfect name for each one! I came up with its name kind of innocently, Yuri was a secondary character featured in A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St, Clair, but what sold me was the many meanings it has, the most important to me is “profit” and Mariko is Japanese for “village”.

The plant origins are in Japan, and flourishes in tropical places, but on the various sites we’ve looked at, say it is perfect for indoors. The only thing it doesn’t like is being moved a lot; in the beginning it was on top of newly cleaned bookshelf by my bed, but my dad didn’t think it was getting a lot of sun so he would change it everytime he entered my room. At the moment, it sits on top of my organ desk next to the window. It gets sunlight but it’s cold over there, so unfortunately I still hear my dad complain about that! He now believes it belongs in Nolan’s playroom because that’s on the south side of the house.

This picture looks adorable but if you look at it long enough you might start to see things in a different perspective.

My mom went to the store this morning and brought back a little plant to sit on top of my bookshelf. We don’t really know what it is, but kind of looks like a tree to us. I think it’s perfect for me and I will definitely enjoy watching it grow as this new year takes hold.

In the background, you can see a small stack of books. They represent something very important and rewarding that happened to me this year. I CAN finish a whole book series on my own! I even accomplished my original goal of reading 20 books, which is something I have never done before in my life! What is even better is that I read five more to finish off this wacky year.

2020 has been something different to various people around the world. There are tons of words that can be used to describe how this year has been for you and if you fall into saying ‘it was the worst year of your life,’ I am terribly sorry for you and really hope 2021 is better for you.

My mom got it for me on New Year’s Eve, and I was inspired to write something about it that also reflects my thoughts on 2020, so I thought I would share it for you too, even though it was pinned on my blog’s Facebook for the majority of January. I literally only removed it because I figured I would have written this post out earlier but I didn’t.

Sansevieria // Sansevieria trifasciata

136770876_118862970017459_7424774491242228111_n (4)

The next plant I got is probably the most interesting out of all of them, because it just reminds me of a batch of erect green beans! I know that’s not the best description ever, but everytime I see it, that’s what pops up in my mind. 

When my mom first brought it home, it was taped together at the ends and at first, it looked like a verdant strand of DNA! There is still two leaves that weave into each other but for the most part, it is starting to fall to the sides and honestly, it’s still one of the coolest plants we’ve ever owned before!

The Sansevieria is also rooted in Africa and everywhere I’ve read about them, they always say how easy it is to take care of while indoors. The fact that it is basically classified as one that likes to be neglected actually made me really happy! As odd as that sounds, it’s true! They thrive better without being in direct sunlight and doesn’t take a whole lot of water either. However, this does nothing to stop my dad for driving me absolutely crazy about its placement on my table. It sits on there all day long and thankfully, it’s not fussy like the Bonsai with moving a lot, so I can still use the desk throughout the day and not have to worry about it afterwards.

Unfortunately, I’ve never had a steady name for it. After learning about where it’s based, I focused on looking at African and Madagascar names and I thought I was settled on Andry (An-duh-ree) which means “warrior” and I thought this was awesome considering the information I just shared above, but I also wanted a cool middle name for it, but I wasn’t able to stick to anything. However, I was watching one of my cooking shows, very early in the morning and heard the name Lilliekoi. It is the Hawaiian name for a passionfruit. It was on the opposite side of the world but I couldn’t stray away from it, so it’s full name is Lilliekoi Andry.

Ponytall Palm // Beaucarnea recurvata

140552527_419635405821834_9009264548668924209_n

For the final plant that calls my room its home, it is like Chuckie in a way, as they are both palms, but this one definitely really look like you pulled a little girl’s hair into a ponytail. It is so light and soft, it makes you think you’re growing a small patch of grass but it looks so delicate on top of my table that I just feel like one good shove and it will fall and break into a million pieces.

The Ponytail Palm is from Mexico as part of the Agave family. Apparently it is neither a tree or a palm for that matter! It likes the sunshine but is fairly cool with being left alone with no water for a bit, and I am definitely loving those types of plants these days. but don’t worry, we keep a close eye on it and my mom waters it when it becomes too dry inside the pot itself.

Since this one is such a sweet plant, I knew I wanted to give it a nice name that would echo its heritage and overall look. I already knew quite of a bit of Spanish names but I was on a fairly difficult quest because I wanted it to fit perfectly and so I made up a list of girl names that I have always loved and two that stood out to me the most were Paulina and Sylvia. By putting these darling names together they literally translate to “little forest” and as soon as I saw it, I knew it was fate!

For the past few years, I’ve been around various plants and seeing a little bit of greenery in the house and it’s been nice to have a piece of nature in our personal spaces. There are people who believe herbs and even some flowers have medicinal purposes and I have recently noticed my outlook on my mental health has changed for the better. If you have been a long time reader of this blog, you might know I’ve been on an anti-depressant for two years now and I do owe a lot of the progress I’ve done in that timespan but I am yearning to be more connected to nature and release who I am on this earth. What does Mother Nature have that I can bring into my life? And I guess she answered it without me even knowing it.

Do you have any indoor plants in your bedroom, home or maybe an office space? If you do, what kind are they? What is the story behind them exactly? Have you gotten to a point that you’ve named them like mine?

Life | Struggling With My Heritage

Hello!

If I am a having a great reading month, I can bang out two reviews at the most, but if I’m not, figuring out what I want to blog about can be somewhat difficult for me. I do believe the book and music posts are the heart of this site but I think what I miss about are personal stories. It could be what I eat in a day or a life lately update, as long as it is like you’re talking to your best friend, I love them! And that’s what I want to bring back to the blogging community for 2021.

So, let’s start this year off with a brand new series, called “Life”. I sort of felt like Sir David Attenborough at the beginning of those nature documentaries you see on BBC America a little as I was writing that sentence!


At the end of 2019, my mom and I were finally to get dad something he’s always wanted for the last two or years, and it was the AncestryDNA kit. The year before, I was relaying things about my nana’s results, because she was given the kit for Christmas the year before. The biggest difference between the two of them is that, we sort of knew where she was from as we have a detailed family tree and information for her, whereas with my dad, it has been a case of “maybe” since I was really young, so he was genuinely very happy to receive this, even though he has been worried that these companies will keep the DNA in case you are wanted by the CIA or FBI. I understand why he had this fear, and I feel like it’s not one that a lot of people make easily, but again, he was very excited to finally get some answers!

Honestly, he wasn’t the only one who was curious. I am interested in genealogy, as I watch almost every TV show about other people’s discoveries. I find them really neat, especially when people are introduced to certain ancestors that may not have been the best people in their lives. It is also cool to feel proud of these people being apart of important moments in history too! However, if you are only wanting to see the percentage of where your family came from, that’s fine! This tool gives a better insight of general areas you came from through your heritage.

When my nana had told all of us was stuff we already knew, well, what I knew at least. She has strong ties to the British isles, mainly Irish, but there was an even bigger number for the western part of Europe: Germany. For my nana, who was given up for adaption at the age of 2. After she was given to her parents, they were afraid that her older siblings would be able to find her and basically steal her back to her biological family, so she moved around a lot growing up and lived on the West Coast for the majority of her life before coming back to the Midwest where she met her husband, my papaw in the the early 60’s.

It wasn’t until the late 80’s that someone came and knocked on her door to ask her name and was told that she had been adopted. Now, it took a little bit for this news to sink in but in the next two years, she found out that she was one of 13 children to a German father, who was a traveling salesman (he used to make furniture) and a Irish stay at home mother. She was able to meet some of her siblings and their families as they held a reunion a year before I was born. So, as I grew up, I heard every stage of her life and it’s been permanently engraved into my brain. It wasn’t until I was out of high school did I become obsessed with learning more about my own ancestry.

As we were able to find loads of information on my mom’s parents, and how exciting it was to learn more about both sides, I figured going into my dad’s side would be the same, even though it was full of questions more than answers. He has always said that we were of Scottish and Welsh descent but then there was some folklore in there too. We could have been connected to Native Americans. I was very much into that side of the story, and wanted to learn so much about it, but nobody was sure on what tribe we came from or how it came about either. Every year in school, we would learn more about these people and I would be ecstatic about it! When I was in fourth grade, our class created a teepee on one side of the room and we were divided up into a group of four and had to come up with names that resembled something they would have been called in their tribe. I chose Sunflower and was thankful that nobody else picked it out for themselves!

While my dad kept track of the arrival of his results at the end of February, they answered things we knew but my heart shattered on the no mention of being related to Native Americans.

It was one thing to know that I wasn’t a descendent of these amazing people, but it was even a harder pill to swallow to know that I was a full on brute.

The start of 2020 was very difficult on my self-worth because I would literally torture myself as I silently retraced the steps of history’s most horrible people like, Adolf Hitler’s hatred towards the Jewish community and becoming a dictator and was able to convince all of Germany to be mean. They were beaten, forced to work in camps, starved, and murdered because of their difference in religion. Unfortunately, after all these years of Germany becoming liberated of the Nazi regime, many people are still weary of the country.

And the last, the English coming to the West Indies and creating colonies on lands that were already occupied by indigenous people. Instead of the reason being about their religion, it was because they were not like them. Everything about Native Americans scared them, so they took everything that belonged to them and massacred and gave no mercy to anyone, even mothers and children. The English also brought with them the cruelty of keeping black people in slavery to the already cursed country. This would prove a problem that lasted well after Abraham Lincoln read the Emancipation Proclamation and allowed them to become “free” and able to do things that their masters had long been doing since they came to the United States.

It is a blessing to know many parts of history, but it is so hard to digest everything that your distant relatives could have done, which was the main reason why I didn’t say anything to anybody until now. I often wonder what would they think of me. Would they be embarrassed or proud of the way I hold myself, think about certain things and most importantly my disability? Unfortunately, I will never be able to gain anything by keeping this thought around, because it’ll never be answered.

As frightening to know that I could have some very bad people connected to my DNA but I started to feel bad for only looking at that side of things. These events are unsettling; we still struggle with our past, but we must move on and make sure to change our ways so it doesn’t happen ever again. We don’t learn anything by forgetting these sometimes gruesome and upsetting tales, so I will let them live in a large chest that is already full to rim of things that I have experienced in my life already, and continue blossoming into this journey.

Have you had your DNA tested? If you have, did you find out anything that was unexpected? For those who haven’t done it yet, can you tell me one reason you haven’t done it yet?